It was ugly and largely uneventful, but for Great Britain’s Tyson Fury the goal was reached tonight.
Going into the lion’s den in Dusseldorf, Germany for his first chance at a title, Fury ended the decade-long reign of heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko. In doing so Fury gains the International Boxing Federation, International Boxing Organization, World Boxing Association, and World Boxing Organization heavyweight titles.
The fight was seen as a mismatch when it was on a skill level between the two, but Fury made up for it in his pre-fight antics ranging from dressing up as Batman in a press conference to calling Klitschko a devil worshipper. In doing so he showed a confidence that some of Klitschko’s most recent opponents shared with the difference being that Fury maintained it throughout the fight.
In the ring Fury was able use not his rare height and reach advantage over Klitschko along with unusual movement for a man his size to confuse his opponent and not have him throw his straight right hand. That was enough because while Fury did not do much in the fight Klitschko did less. While the American commentators at HBO who broadcast the fight tried to point out that Klitschko may have other things on his mind in his personal life the fact was that Fury came in hungrier and in doing so has shaken up the heavyweight division.
For over a decade the division was ruled by Wladimir and older brother Vitali Klitschko. In that time both men held all four major titles and in doing so also took some excitement away from the most glamorous division in boxing. While Vitali retired from the sport in 2013 and is now the mayor of Kiev, Ukraine, Wladimir continued the reign in dominant fashion. That is until tonight.
Fury, a cocky Brit of Irish and Roma descent who calls himself ‘The Gypsy King’ is now technically the man to beat in the division. What’s most appealing about Fury is not his skill, although he has that, but his outspoken demeanor. He is not afraid to say what is on his mind and try to get under his opponent’s skin. In other words Fury is a fighter that is willing to entertain.
Along with Fury a new generation of heavyweights look ready to bring more excitement. In Great Britain there is Anthony Joshua, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist who until tonight was seen as that country’s best chance to dethrone Klitschko. However across the Atlantic resides the holder of the only belt that Fury doesn’t have, World Boxing Council champion Deontay Wilder of Tuscaloosa, AL. Wilder is just as outspoken, charismatic, and willing to entertain as Fury but with more punching prowess as he has won all but one of his fights by knockout.
So while Klitschko will reportedly exercise his rematch clause Fury can enjoy the fact that he is king of the hill.
Long live the king.